Objective: There is an association between recreational marijuana use in pregnancy and legalization. As more states legalize marijuana, its use in pregnancy may increase. The objective of this study was to evaluate pregnant women’s knowledge and opinions about marijuana use, potential risks, and legalization. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of pregnant women at a regional perinatal center in New Jersey was performed from January-December 2019. Pregnant subjects were invited to complete a voluntary, anonymous 23-question survey about marijuana use in pregnancy, potential risks, and legalization. Subjects were excluded if they could not read in English or Spanish. Survey questions were based on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = strongly agree, 2 = agree, 3 = neutral, 4 = disagree, and 5 = strongly disagree). Likelihood of agreeing or disagreeing with potential risks, with neutral responses as the reference, were estimated based on the relative risk (RR) (95% confidence interval [CI]). Associations were examined with prior tobacco/marijuana use and education level. Results: During the study period, approximately 1133 consecutive patients were approached and 843 completed the study (74.4% response rate). The majority of participants were English-speaking, college educated, and employed. 204 (25.2%) reported prior marijuana use and 36 (4.5%) reported marijuana use during pregnancy. Overall, pregnant women had poor knowledge about potential risks of marijuana use in pregnancy. Although 234 (29.0%) patients were opposed to legalization, more than 90% of pregnant subjects indicated that they would be more likely to use marijuana in pregnancy if it were legalized. Associations of marijuana risks by prior tobacco use showed that nonsmokers had more awareness about risks. Nonsmokers had higher likelihood of agreeing that marijuana use may be harmful to a pregnancy (RR 1.41, 95% CI 1.12–1.76), may hurt the growth of a baby (RR 1.36, 95% CI 1.07–1.74), may cause preterm birth (RR 1.18, 95% CI 1.00–1.40), and may hurt a child’s ability to learn (RR 1.20, 95% CI 0.95–1.51). Similar trends were observed for subjects who reported no prior marijuana use and for subjects with more than high school education. Conclusions: The majority of surveyed pregnant women demonstrated poor knowledge about the possible risks of marijuana in pregnancy and indicated that they would be more likely to use marijuana in pregnancy if it were legalized. As the use of marijuana increases, providers should focus on educating their patients about potential risks associated with marijuana use in pregnancy while additional research is needed to clarify associated risks.
- drug use
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynecology